Managers are killing off employee loyalty.

In a time when employees want more freedom, openness, and say over the work they do, management practices and beliefs, on the whole, have calcified. Management has failed to adapt to the dynamic influences on how work can be done in the 21st century. Entrenched managers, supported by the false comfort of yesterday’s beliefs, continue to ignore employee passion which is vital to innovate, and create solutions of value to customers.

Management has created an altar to itself, adoring its antiquated image. All the while, employees look elsewhere to unleash their talents and passions. Unfortunately, such a search is fraught with disappointment, leading too many talented employees to hold
back what they have to offer. Leading too many employees to sit on their talents, and consequently their own growth.

Yes, the picture is dismal, but it’s only by management choice. Looping back to loyalty, it can flourish again. Employees need a reason to offer their talents in exchange for meaningful work.

So where does a manager focus to let loyalty flourish? The answers are found in the enablers, or processes, of the corporation. Most importantly, however, it lies within the manager.

Develop a Talent Management Plan Today

CEOs are avoiding addressing their company’s talent shortage problems. At the heart of this choice is believing competitive advantages are found not in employees but in short lived, imitable technology or product advancements. Conversely, knowledge and human capital is not easily duplicated. They can be poached, however, by competitors.

It’s in the latter that CEOs and other decision makers need to focus their strategic intent. Stop procrastinating and develop a plan to keep your talented employees and devise a strategy to attract and keep top talent. If senior decision makers fail to do this they
are sending a clear message, even if unintended: you are here to meet the company’s needs; not yours. In today’s knowledge economy, companies who prioritize employees over process have the competitive advantage.

Transform Your Employee Development Beliefs

Stop treating employee development as a one and done transaction: go to training and return with skills
magically transformed. This robotic view on human development limits and weakens people, teams, and ultimately the company.

Instead, marry training with post-training development assignments or on-the-job development projects to grow employees. Employees only develop skills through training, development, and a manager’s coaching that matches the employee’s skill development level.

Develop Your “Employees First” Perspective

Truth be told, your role as a manager is crippled or freed by your view of employees’ place in the company. CEO
and author Vineet Nayar inverts the rigid pyramid, placing employees at the top, customers sandwiched in the middle, and managers at the bottom.

Managers aren’t subservient to employees. Nayar explains in his book Employees First, Customers Second, that the role of managers is to be accountable to what he calls the value zone. The value zone is where value for the customer is generated; which is in the exchange between employees and customers.

With employees first perspective, your role as a manager is to make it as easy as possible for employees to do their work to generate value for customers. And then get out of their way.

Create Optimism

Face it. Work environments suck. If you want talented employees to stick around, then step up and give them a reason to stay. Stop waiting for senior management to rollout another flavor of the month hat trick. You have the greatest level of influence over your employees’ engagement. Focus on team unity. Be relentless. Be purposeful. Help your employees find the meaning behind their work.

Refuse the popular notion that employee loyalty is waning. If your employees believe in you and the meaning of their work, you can reverse the trend of waning employee loyalty.

On the other hand, you can do nothing. Just be honest with yourself about why employees are leaving. It’s your choice.


Change Leader | Learning Expert | Speaker | Author | Blogger Owner and principal consultant at Achieved Strategies and co-founder of Switch and Shift. With over 20 years working to help people create change and contribute their best, I’ve grown deeply passionate about inspiring, educating, and sharing what I’ve learned helps leaders bring the best out in their people.

We are honored to have Shawn Murphy as one of our contributing authors in our growing global network of professionals. His insights and experience are a valuable asset to us and we believe it will be to you as well.

  • Hi, I like your posts. I wanted you to know that you have a typo…noting should be nothing. I always miss my own typos because my brain “knows” what I want to say so I just wanted to let you know!

    On the other hand, you can do noting.


  • Many thanks Amy. It’s been corrected. It takes a village to manage a blog!

  • Indeed. Thank you, Amy. =)

  • Tami

    Too many companies are working with the bare bones of a staff that they actually need. Their focus is too tight on getting the job done while not investing in the development of their core staff. It seems that everywhere you go companies are doing more with less causing service and employee morale to suffer. The work environment needs to understand that employee satisfaction and development is just as important as customer loyalty

  • I really like what you said about not waiting for senior management to roll out the old flavor of the month hat trick. I agree. It takes so much more to keep your employees motivated and wanting to stick around. You have to be consistent and creative. Your employees are not just around to serve you and the company. As managers, we are there to serve them and to help them blossom and enjoy the work they do. It’s a beautiful thing when you think about it. 😉 Nice article.

  • Agreed Tami. When development of staff at least equals the concern for doing a job properly, that’s when the dynamics in an organization begin to shift towards a healthy direction. Thanks for your contribution!

  • Love your thoughts, Monique! Happy the article resonated with you. We are so pleased to have Shawn as a contributor. Make sure you check out the Switch and Shift site as well!

  • A fantastic, straight-forward post. Two points that really stand out here are: (1) Drawing out potential rests heavily with employee managers. Just as a good coach can lead a team to victory, a great manager can cultivate talent and inspire just about anyone; (2) From a manager’s perspective, employees should be put ahead of customers. A motivated and happy employee will deliver better customer service than an employee who feels unappreciated will.

  • Very lucid observations. Thanks for your contribution!!

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